Trying to incorporate more beets into your life? Well, you’ve come to right place. Growing up, beets were a dinner staple. All of our cutting boards were perpetually stained magenta, and I knew just from glancing at my mom’s hands that we were having beets that night.
Beets are crazy good for you. They possess potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B and C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid. Beets cleanse the liver, so if you’ve been going out one too many nights this last week, keep calm and drink some beet juice! Also, if you’ve fallen victim to seasonal depression or stress, beets contain betaine (which is the same stuff used in some depression medications) and tryptophan, which relaxes you and makes you feel happier. Kind of like chocolate, but without the fat. Have I convinced you yet? Rather, have I pumped up all you beet lovers? If not, well then beat it. Okay, sorry. I had to.
With all this said, you might think the only way to eat beets is to boil them or juice them. You are so wrong! There are many ways to eat beets, starting with:
1. Russian Beet Salad (but healthified)
Traditional Russian beet salad is super easy to make, and it’s extremely yummy. All you need are two to three beets (depending on size) which you boil or roast. After cooking them, you grate them into a bowl and mix in mayo, minced garlic, chopped walnuts, and chopped prunes (I use raisins). Since using mayonnaise isn’t the healthiest choice in the world, I found this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Skinnytaste. She uses light mayo and also adds in carrots and onion to make a tasty, but slimmed-down Russian beet salad.
2. Pickled Beets
If you’re a fan of pickled things, you will probably love picked beets. You can easily make some yourself using this recipe, which calls for cider vinegar and some jars that you can seal tight. You cook the beets (although not all the way), slice them, and pour the vinegar in to thoroughly coat them. Wait three days, and voila! You have pickled beets.
3. “Bad Ass Beet Salad”
Beets are so versatile, you can do practically anything with them, including using their juice to tie-dye your plain white tee. But they’re also a great addition to a salad. You can add them to a Greek or Caesar salad for sure, but why not do something more fun? This recipe calls for three beets, an orange, steamed edamame, goat cheese and a homemade light dressing that consists of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. The ratio of sweet to savory is on point, and the beets add a nice crunchy texture.
4. Add some beets to your pizza
Beets can be awesome pizza toppings. These root vegetables add more complexity to a rather pedestrian slice of cheese pizza, and you can feel better about scarfing down a few indulgent slices. If you’re staying in on Valentine’s Day, this Valentine’s Day Pizza with Beets and Kale Pesto recipe is superb. I made it a couple of weeks ago because I’m A) I’m a rebel and B) I just wanted to cut heart-shaped beets because why not.
5. Heart Beet Rawvioli with Pesto Oil
More pesto because it’s the best-o. Wow, someone please take my laptop away from me. These little ravioli-like treats are great for an appetizer or even dinner if you’re on a health kick. All you need are 3-4 large beets, a lemon, olive oil, sea salt, a cheese of your liking (the recipe calls for Pine Nut “cheese” but I go with ricotta), and pesto oil. I’m planning on making these for Galentine’s Day because they look adorable and seem easy to make!
6. Chocolate and Balsamic Roasted Beets
Beets and chocolate don’t seem like a likely pair, but this dish is actually amazing! I love the complex flavors that the cocoa powder and Balsamic vinegar add to the beets. This side dish is truly something different and adventurous, but I highly recommend it if you like sweet, tangy flavors.
7. Homemade Beet Chips
If you’re like me and need something to crunch on a couple hours before dinner that won’t completely fill you up, try making some beet chips! I know kale chips are all the rage, but to me, beet chips are slightly more satisfying. And they’re just so pretty! Learn how to make them here.
My mom refuses to give me her recipe for borsht, so I am sorry. Truly. But this recipe comes close (although my mom has never added kidney beans). If you’ve never tried borsht, it’s basically a vegetable soup that mostly tastes like beets. It’s slightly tangy, and best with a dollop of sour cream.
9. Beet-ful Cupcakes
Did you know that you can substitute beets for sugar? A lot of recipes that call for a ton of sugar can be switched out (or at least partially) with beet juice or puree. Beets are extremely sugary, so that makes sense. These vegan cupcakes made with blended beets, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, coconut oil and cocoa powder are an awesome way to indulge in a sweet treat without feeling guilty. Plus, they’re so sweet and perfect on their own, they don’t even need a frosting (unless you want some, which I understand).
10. Veggie Burgers made with Beets
If you’re not very keen on beets but still trying to sneak ‘em into your diet somehow, maybe you should make these delicious burger patties. Honestly, once you pile on the cheese, lettuce, and ketchup you won’t even notice the beet taste! This is a neat option for those trying to cut back on meat (including me) and need a flavorful option that doesn’t have the consistency of chewed up cardboard.